Jul 30, 2011

Sukiyaki Beef Sinigang

Sinigang has always been considered comfort food especially when the rainy season sets in. It's a favorite in many Filipino homes, and there's probably more versions of this dish than you can count with both fingers. I was really psyched when Kulinarya Cooking Club announced its July theme, it's been so long since we had this dish, for which I blame the hot and humid weather we have been having for months.

Though we've always had sinigang with either prawns, grilled liempo, or milkfish, I thought of using sukiyaki cut beef for tonight. The subtle taste of beef would provide a nice contrast with the sour soup, plus the thin slices makes eating much more enjoyable. I wish I could have taken a better photo, but the lighting in the dining area wasn't good.

Sukiyaki Beef Sinigang Recipe

1 cup tamarind pulp (made from boiled and mashed tamarind)
1/2 kg sukiyaki-cut beef
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 finger chili, sliced in half
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 daikon radish, cut into strips
6 string beans, cut into 2" pieces
a bunch of okra, sliced in half
1 long eggplant, sliced
6 cups water
2 tbsp thai fish sauce

  1. Steep the tamarind pulp in hot water for 15 to 20 mins. Strain.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan and sear the beef until cooked and slightly browned. Set aside.
  3. Saute onions, finger chili and tomatoes in oil. 
  4. Add the water and the strained tamarind broth into the pan. 
  5. Add the string beans first, then the okra, eggplant and daikon radish, spacing them according to the time they cook.
  6. Add the fish sauce to the pan and adjust the taste to your preferences.
  7. When vegetables are done, add the beef and serve.
Jul 28, 2011

SM Master Chefs 2011: Lowell Cauilan

Won't you have a good start if you had this for breakfast? SM Hypermarket sets off its 10th anniversary, and to celebrate, well-known chefs are giving their Cooking Marathons and Demos live in many Hypermarket branches nationwide. From July to September, every week there will be cooking demos in different branches. To catch their wonderful events in your area, see the Cooking Marathon Schedule. Apart from the Cooking Marathon, they are also giving away a kitchen makeover to one lucky winner. SM Hypermarket will also be holding Supersized Cook-off Series, so watch out!

Master Chef Lowell Cauilan prepared two dishes for today, one of which is the CDO Burger Fajitas. These are strips of burger, lettuce, cheese, salsa, and dressing rolled up in flour tortillas. There's a mirror above the set which gives the audience a good view of how the fajitas were prepared. I was able to taste the fajitas while Chef Lowell is preparing the second dish, and it's really good. A bit salty, which may be due to the generous pinch of salt, but other than that, it's really delicious. I thought the fajitas is a good choice for the demo, since not many people know how to prepare these. Judging by the audience's reactions, they liked the new dish.

The second dish is called Tocino Chao Fan, which basically fried rice cooked with tocino strips and garnished with julienned leeks. It may seem ordinary at first, but once the aroma from the set has started to spread, the people were keen on taking down notes and asking questions. Suddenly, the tocino fried rice became a hit. When we got to taste the fried rice,  it was pretty good, actually, with a subtle sweetness to it, and with just the right hint of salty taste. It's a good thing too, because many people tend to make their fried rice so oily and salty that it's not right anymore.

There were also games after the cooking demo, and the people who answer the questions correctly were given gift packs courtesy of the master brands. Just look at their happy faces:

To keep the crowd entertained, the SM Hypermarket Staff performed songs and dance numbers. I must say, these staff have talent in singing. They really like the high notes :)

I was lucky to get invited as one of the bloggers covering today's Cooking Marathon in SM Hypermarket Las Pinas, together with Eihdra of One Proud Momma. It's really nice to meet her in person, she's friendly and she did a wide coverage of the marathon. We were taken care of Mr. Luis Quilatan and the friendly SM staff during the event, and we really enjoyed it. Look at what we got to take home:

A quick look at some of the Master Brands sponsoring this event:

Jul 26, 2011

Bizu Macarons: Food Review + 1st Weekday Potluck

For the past few weeks, my sis has been spoiling us with everything sweet and yummy that she could find at S&R, most of which are what you would call incredibly irresistible belly busters. They make you fat, they tempt you even in the wee hours of the night, and I have established a love/hate relationship with them. But there are also times when she brings home a real treat such as this box of macarons from Bizu.

I've eaten many of these before Bizu came to the spotlight. Some are good, a few are incredible, and many are just bad. But these macarons are light and crisp, melts in your mouth, and gives you the sweet fix you need for the day. I forgot the flavors for each color, yes you could forget them while enjoying these over some stories, but I remember grabbing the pistachio macaron first, which made it disappear before the photo was taken. :) 

My favorite would be the rose-flavored (light pink), and the pistachio. Not too sweet, and just light. I hated the vanilla flavor which I found way too sweet for me. The others were just fine, even the pretty white  macaron with pink specks, whose flavor I can't remember. Compared to other macarons, Bizu's were at the top of my list! Yumyum!

Anyway, I was thinking that maybe I could try hosting a linkup here, also known as a food meme to many bloggers. I'm home most of the time, and while I want to take my mind off my professional license, I'm running out of blogs to visit. Yes, you can't have too many loves. :) Aside from the food blogs that I am so lazy to link up at my foodie exchange list, I have a hundred more non-food sites and blogs on my list that seldom update. It would be nice to have new food blogs to explore :)

So if it works, I'll host my Weekday Potluck every Tuesday to Thursday, and as long as the post is about food you could link up here. In every next linkup, I will feature three blogs from the previous linkup. You can use this badge below to spread the word, but any link will do. :)

Jul 25, 2011

Homemade Salt and Pepper Potato Chips

Homemade Salt and Pepper Potato Chips

What do you do when you have a lot of potatoes and you're craving for a light snack? Make homemade potato chips! It's just an experiment though, since I miss eating the potato chips sold at our school. I used to watch the lady slice up big potato pieces with her mandolin slicer on the spot, then dropping them all on the deep frier. After a few minutes, out come crisp potato slices with the skin on, sprinkled with salt and pepper just as I like them. Alex likes his chips smothered with mayo-ketchup mix, which I don't really like. :p

Homemade Salt and Pepper Potato Chips

With a mandolin slicer you can get even slices quickly, as opposed to slicing them by hand. Be careful, though, the blade is real sharp! The secret to crisp chips that are not too oily, is that the slices have to be even, at a good 0.5 mm thick. The mandolin slicer I bought was already packed at that measured thickness, but I saw more expensive ones with adjustable thickness. 

Oh, and don't forget the oil temperature, the potato slices have to be deep-fried, and the pan should be very hot when you put them in. Don't overcrowd the pan, since when the temperature drops, the oil seeps into the potatoes and you'd get soggy cor oily chips. When my brothers saw the batch of chips I fried up yesterday, they thought the chips were baked. :)
Jul 23, 2011

Ukoy Kalabasa (Squash Fritters)

I grew up eating two kinds of ukoy (also known as okoy in some places). The more popular one which I so totally love eating in trips to the provinces is the ukoy hipon, made from small shrimps with their heads and shells still on, and battered with a crisp mixture that I often enjoy piping hot with a spicy vinegar dip.

There's also the ukoy kalabasa, a much less crisp than their shrimp counterparts, but equally delicious as well. I remember not liking this when I was a kid, staring incredulously as my sister ate mouthfuls of this stuff. But I was seven years old then, and there's two veggies that I wouldn't eat as a child: ampalaya (bitter melon) and squash. But now that I ate it again, it's quite delicious. :)

When I remembered my lola who cooks these for us, I decided to make some, and add a few ingredients to make it more appealing to my brothers who are keen not to eat any vegetables at all. I added onion leaves to perk up the taste.

  • 1/4 kilo squash (around two cups when grated)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion leaves
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add the egg and water, and mix well until smooth.
  2. Add the batter to the grated squash and spring onions. Mix well.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in a shallow pan, and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. Flip once the bottom is golden brown.
  4. Serve hot with spicy vinegar.
Jul 21, 2011

Influential Bloggers Who?

Yup, I'm sure you have seen this before. Last year I was ogling at the nominees, thinking how it was so cool it must be to be there. I thought that they must be really dedicated to blogging, as opposed to my laziness before that has led to months of inactivity before taking things seriously now.

I meant to join last year - no, not as a nominee - but as someone who gives her list of the best influential bloggers to the panel as an entry. But then, even though I have so many blogs out there that I follow (most of the time, anonymously), they are all not qualified because of the age of their blogs. Emphasis on the "emerging" part of the contest, they have a time frame in which the blog you're rooting for must have started in.

I literally scoured my list that time, including the many fashion, technology, and celebrity blogs out there among the food blogs that I love, yet they all are too old to qualify. So here I am now, back with a vengeance with my top 10 picks of the year, all of which (Thank God!) qualify for this year's project.

Here are the sponsors for this year's project:
Cyber Monday DealsTRIbeca Private ResidencesHow To VideosPalawan Beaches for Sale,Green and Natural Lubes PhilippinesPhilippine data centerPhilippine online shoppingSingapore JobsPinoy Party FoodApartment for rent, and Best deals tips

Without further ado, here are my top picks:

1.Certified Foodies - Who wouldn't love their passion for finding the best eats in the metro? Here you can feast your eyes upon tons of food photos, laugh at some of the stories behind their dining experiences and be fascinated with the offers these guys can give you.

2. Jenni Epperson - Oh this one's a definite keeper in my reading list! Whether it's fashion, celebrities, special events, technology, or food that it is you're into, you can just keep on reading the stories behind every post, every photo, and every event that Jenni has gone through. She's in a tight situation right now, but I hope for all the best.

3. Girl-Kuripot - If there's anyone who doesn't love all things free, then I say he's a cynical man! Kidding aside, I first chanced upon GK from Boy-Kuripot, whom I have been following ever since. The names amuse me, and while at first I thought they have the same theme, oh, GK seems to have the really cool travel offers, giveaways, and tips for you. The fact that she has been traveling all over is something to be amazed with. If you are in the look-out for opportunities to travel the world, then GK is your girl!

4. Fashion Pulis - Laugh your heart out at the stories, rack your brains while trying to figure out the blind item, and be amused with all the insider celebrity stories you have yet to hear in TV or from the media. It's seriously a fun way to have your break, and you can get all the gossip you want without feeling like you're reading the tabloid. :)

5. Aryanna Epperson - A fun and quirky girl that takes after her mother, she takes blogging on a new perspective. So far I have seen photoblogs and cartoon-based blogs before hers, but only she has caught my attention! Her blog is simple, fun to read, and she connects well with her readers!

6. Blogger Manila - It's practically a blog dedicated for bloggers, the social media, and everything that's happening around the city. With loads of opinion and a tad of personality, you can really get many things out of this blog.

7. Kiss And Makeup - It's fascinating to see how much a person grows while blogging. This lady proves that everyone can write, and as much as she was uncertain at the start of her blogging journey, you should see how she makes her posts. She definitely has taken beauty and fashion blogging to a new level.

8. The Journalistic View - It's a mix of everything, from cover stories to reviews, and a lot more in between! Everything is said in the perspective of a journalist, and if you read some of her posts, it's like reading a short column from the newspaper.

9. Unbox - If you're excited about all the new releases in the world of technology, then you would enjoy Unbox.ph's way of giving you the specs, all by making it a bit more interesting than just listing them down on their own.

10. Tiffiefum Invasian - It's quite a new beauty blog, but her way of doing reviews on beauty products landed her with some of the best make-up companies here. She makes everything clear, and direct to the point, just as any reviewer should.

That's it! My top 10 picks for emerging influential bloggers, that in my opinion, would definitely take the world on an impact someday. :)
Jul 20, 2011

Homemade Puto - Cheese, Blueberry, Honey Almond

Yes, it's my first time to make homemade puto, also known as rice cakes. We've made them before in cooking class back in high school, but of course back then we just let the active groupmates do the work. :) Now I really appreciate puto - to be honest I am not fond of these unless they are made with milk in them, as many stores fail to do. I want my rice cakes to be fluffy yet creamy, unlike the fluffy dry puto being sold in the market. Oh, and I got to use my colorful silicone cups! :)

Traditionally, they are made with rice flour or rice paste they call galapong, as my lola used to make, then steamed in puto pans until all fluffed up. But I don't know where to find galapong, nor rice flour, so I used cake flour instead. And to make things more interesting, I added a few ingredients to give a different flavor to each batch, though not too much because I wanted to preserve the rice cake's original flavor. The result: creamy puto with hints of dried blueberries, cheese, and honey-roasted almonds. You can use any topping, I just used what I have yesterday.

I used an electronic steamer, but a traditional steamer would be great. :)

Homemade Puto Recipe

1 1/3 cups cake flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg whites
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup water
Cheese, cut into strips

  1. Boil water over steamer, or prepare electronic steamer.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Continue beating while adding the evaporated milk and water.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix well until smooth.
  5. Fill 3/4 of the silicone cups (or greased puto pans) with the batter. Top with cheese and other toppings of your choice.
  6. Steam for 25 minutes from the time the water starts boiling. The puto is cooked when the top bounces back when pressed.
  7. Serve warm with coffee or hot chocolate.